North Korea denounces Yoon’s initiative to mend South Korea-Japan ties

A North Korean propaganda media dismissed the Yoon government’s plan to dispatch a delegation of condolences to Japan as “making a fuss to curry favour with Japan.”

Ji Da-gyum

Ji Da-gyum

The Korea Herald


South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin (R) shakes hands with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi during a meeting with their counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh on Aug. 4, 2022. (Yonhap)

August 22, 2022

North Korea’s – propaganda outlets denounced South Korea’s diplomatic initiative to mend ties with Japan in articles issued this weekend, claiming the Yoon Suk-yeol government is seeking to capitalize on the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The North Korean external-oriented outlets made mention of Abe’s death for the first time, more than six weeks after Abe was shot to death in the Japanese city of Nara on July 8. The North Korean state media notably expressed antagonism toward the slain former prime minister, lambasting him for playing a leading role in reviving the country’s militarism.

DPRK Today, a propaganda website, undermined the Yoon government’s response to the assassination of Abe in a Korean-language commentary issued Sunday.

“Traitor Yoon Suk-yeol immediately sent condolence messages and built Abe up as a ‘respectable politician’ as soon as he received the news that Abe was shot to death,” DPRK Today said.

“The puppet group made a disgusting gesture to improve ties with Japan, saying that Abe worked tirelessly for the sake of the Northeast Asia region,” the propaganda outlet added, referring to South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo’s message.

DPRK Today also criticized the South Korean presidential office for expressing hopes that Yoon’s visit to a memorial altar at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to pay his respects to Abe would serve as a new starting point for South Korea-Japan relations. The propaganda media dismissed the Yoon government’s plan to dispatch a delegation of condolences to Japan as “making a fuss to curry favor with Japan.”

DPRK Today claimed, “The Yoon Suk-yeol group of traitors is busy trying to turn the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe into a decisive opportunity to improve South Korea-Japan relations.”

It adds that the Yoon government “humiliated Korean people by acting unseemly as if their grandfather died about the death of a samurai descendant who committed immeasurable crimes against Korean people through generations and sharpened his sword for reinvasion.”

Calibrating timing?
North Korea’s Uriminzokkiri and Tongil Sinbo, which mainly target external audiences, launched a blistering criticism of the Yoon government’s initiative to improve ties with Japan.

Uriminzokkiri on Saturday censured Yoon’s speech on the occasion of the Koreas’ shared Aug. 15 National Liberation Day holiday, where he pledged to expeditiously restore and develop relations between Korea and Japan based on a future-oriented approach.

The article specifically lambasted National Assembly Vice Speaker Chung Jin-suk for committing to pitch in to fulfill Yoon’s diplomatic goal in the capacity of a co-chair of the Korean-Japan Parliamentarians’ Association. Chung said Monday that South Korea and Japan “share values of liberal democracy and market economy and they are partners in the journey to spread freedom in Asia.”

Uriminzokkiri added, “Chung Jin-suk’s disgusting behavior to exalt Japan and make points with the traitor (Yoon) is sickening,” criticizing that Chung sought to “attend the state funeral for the former Prime Minister Abe who was the symbol of far-right conservativism and viciously insulted our nation.”

Uriminzokkiri’s article notably came on the day that a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Chung, left for Washington for a weeklong visit at the invitation of the US State Department. Japanese lawmakers were also invited to visit Washington for a trilateral exchange with their South Korean and US counterparts.

Checks against trilateral cooperation
North Korea’s weekly Tongil Sinbo echoed that the Yoon government is “trying to use the violent death of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe as an opportunity to improve ties with the island country as they played as if their grandfather died.” The weekly labeled Abe as the one who “ran amok at the forefront to revive militarism and scheme reinvasion.”

Tongil Sinbo conspicuously claimed that Yoon has pursued to improve ties with Japan “despite repeated contempt, disrespect and disregard,” with the ultimate goal to counter North Korea in trilateral coordination with Japan and the United States. The media criticized the recent move to enhance trilateral security cooperation in that context.

“The Yoon Suk-yeol group of traitors’ persistent obsession to improve bilateral relations with Japan … stems from its ulterior purpose to realize heinous policy to confront the same race while having the US and Japan, their masters, on its side,” the weekly said.

Tongil Sinbo contended that the Yoon government has sought to actively participate in trilateral exercises including a ballistic missile defense exercise targeting North Korea to that end.

Tongil Sinbo also dismissed the Yoon government’s recent efforts to diplomatically resolve the issue of compensating victims of wartime forced labor as a “disgusting play to curry favor with the island country.”

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry recently submitted an opinion to the Supreme Court in the run-up to the final ruling on liquidating assets of Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate the victims. The ministry also launched the government-civilian consultative body on Japan’s forced labor issue in July.

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